Thank you for joining us as we take a look at some NFL logo history!   Each week we will examine two different NFL team logos.  We will explore old NFL logos, colors, and history.  This week we are looking at the Denver Broncos logo history and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers logo history.  Let’s begin!

The Denver Broncos became a team in 1960. Their first logo was very cartoonish in nature.  It was white, brown, and mustard yellow.  The picture showed a football player casually riding a bucking bronco.  The player had a “B” on the front of his jersey.

In 1962, the team changed their colors to orange, royal blue, and white.  Their new logo became an orange horse, with a football player standing on top.  The player was holding a football and had the number 63 on his jersey.  The horse was still in a bucking position.

Eight years later, in 1970, the logo was redesigned.  It became an orange “D”, with a white horse coming out of the middle.  The horse had steam blowing out his nostrils.  The empty space inside the letter was colored with royal blue.  In 1993, they simplified that logo by keeping the design, but removed a few of the detail lines.  This logo was used until 1997.

In 1997, the new logo was introduced, and is still being used today.  The colors changed to orange, white, and navy blue.  The logo is a profile of a white horse’s head and everything is outlined in navy blue.  The mane and eyes are orange and reflect a tough, fierce attitude. 

A bronco is an untrained horse.  They are accustomed to being wild and free.  When a bronco feels threatened, it will do whatever it can to keep from being tamed.  This matches the Denver Broncos’ goal to do whatever it takes to win.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became a team in 1976, there was already a team in the League that had a pirate mascot, the Oakland Raiders.  The Buccaneers needed to make a logo that could not be confused with the Raiders.  They hired a cartoonist from the Tampa Tribune, Lamar Sparkman, to design the logo.  He came up with a winking pirate who wore a hoop earring and held a knife in his teeth.  Atop his head was a hat with a curved feather. 

1997 brought a desire to have a more intimidating persona.  The team worked in conjunction with the NFL to design a new logo.  They came up with a tattered dark red flag that was attached to a sword as a pole.  The flag had a white skull with two swords crossed.  In the middle of the two swords was a football.  The football had black laces.

In 2014, the team slightly changed the logo.  The football was switched to have white laces and the flag was less tattered.  The sword handle was changed from red to gray.  In 2020, the red of the flag was made slightly darker.

In the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there have not been very many logo changes.  It seems they have found the intimidating logo they were looking for, and are sticking with it.

What are your thoughts? Who has the better logo here? Broncos or Buccaneers?

If you’re looking for graphic design projects, here’s a free NFL logo history worksheet that goes along with this article. Click the button below and enter your email!

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